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Showing posts from October, 2014

Celebrate Halloween Casablanca Style

Happy Halloween from the Casablanca Authors! We hope you have a fun and spooky day planned. We'd love for you to share some of your Halloween memories. Here are a few of ours! Shana Galen I love taking my daughter trick-or-treating with friends. We moms sip wine and steal mini candy bars from the trick-or-treat-bags, and the kids visit house after house until they can't make it to one more. Princess Galen's first Halloween (2012) Terry Spear Ahh, Shana, that's so cute, but where are your costumes? I took several photos while I was on my grand tour of Minnesota--thanks to Donna Fournier who made it all possible. This was at a working apple orchard. Halloween decorated shop in Stillwater, MN, oldest city in the state. And a shop at Mall of America! And my bears ready to party for Halloween. The wolf is howling, having a great time! Gina Conkle Thanks Terry! Count me in for a trip to Mall of America. :-D Halloween at Casa de Conkle Me

It's that time of year again...

by Cheryl Brooks The leaves are almost gone. Pumpkins are everywhere, including those awesome pumpkin spice English muffins you can only buy in the fall. I love pumpkins. Love looking at them, cooking them, and eating them. But one thing I don't do anymore is carve my pumpkin into a jack o' lantern. Everyone has their fall rituals. Mine is not carving my pumpkin until I'm ready to cook it.  Yeah. I know. I sound like the Halloween version of Ebenezer Scrooge, but I think it's a damn shame to waste a pumpkin on a single October night when it can be visually enjoyed for at least two months and then tastily enjoyed throughout the year. I buy my pumpkin as soon as they begin to appear for sale and set it on the deck where I can see it through my kitchen window. Simply looking at it makes me feel good. I can't explain why. The color, the shape, the season it represents--all of those and more add to the pumpkin's appeal. Its cheerful orange face smile

What About the Classics?

Recently a very popular Facebook group began called the Old School Romance Book Club . Almost 900 readers signed up to read classic romance novels, like The Bride by Julie Garwood, The Flame and the Flower by Laura Kinsale,  and Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux. I have actually read all of those and most of the other books considered classics, but only because a few years I go, I intentionally read them. I didn't read them when they came out. I was either too young or unaware of them. Recently, I also re-read The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. I don't know if that's considered a classic, but it should be. I did read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon when it came out, and I was surprised to learn it's now considered a classic. Some other classics include Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey I've rea

Do you believe in Magick?

Magick? Don't I mean magic? Well, yes. I know how to spell the word, but many of my counterparts have used the olde spelling to show the difference between rabbits popping out of hats and the more supernatural type of phenomenon that defies explanation. I might think my computer is magic, but I'm sure someone can explain exactly how it works--just not me. Witch meant “wise woman” to our Pagan ancestors. I cannot think of any more appropriate term. Laurie Cabot (the official witch of Salem, MA) warned, “Do not teach this craft to fools.” I don’t think I hear that quite enough. There is great power, thus great responsibility, at their wand-tips. Those who are governed by knee-jerk reactions or vindictiveness have no business wielding magic as a weapon. For those who fear modern day Wicca, know that the number one fundamental lesson they are taught is “Harm none.” A craft is something creative. It’s also something we practice. Authors create and practice their c

For the Love of All Things Pumpkin

by Amanda Forester I love the holidays. I particularly love that it starts with a celebration of that beautiful orange gourd - the pumpkin. I recently took the kids to a local pumpkin patch. We traipsed through the mud to find just the right pumpkin.   Pumpkins in the store are all round or oval, but in the field they come in a variety of shapes - round, square, rectangle, oval, and even some that have a waistline or fold over onto themselves.   I'm sure your choice of pumpkin says something about you, but I'm not sure what.   I chose a bright orange oval while my husband chose something that looked like a hunchback pumpkin.   I'm guessing that says something about his quirky sense of humor. At the pumpkin patch we came across bins of little pumpkin-like gourds of every shape and color imaginable - little orange pumpkins, mini white pumpkins, gourds that look like ghosts from Pac-man, gourds that look like crazy sea creatures, and even some gourds that look a li

How My Trip to England Inspired The Rake's Handbook

 My debut Regency-era novel, The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide , will be released soon on November 4 th . Some of you may already know that the inspiration for this book is the BBC’s TV program of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ll discuss my pathway to publication on this blog when the book is released. Today I’d like to tell you about a trip I made to England that became the inspiration for my all of my books in The Rake’s Handbook series.  After viewing North and South, I became fascinated by the cotton industry around Manchester at the beginning of the 19 th century. I had already read the Gaskell book and other so-called “industrial novels” written by people like Charles Dickens. I also read a few nonfiction books, like Friedrich Engels’ book on the working class in England and treatises on cotton manufacture. Then I joined a message-board of intelligent ladies, mostly living in Great Britain, who posted many online conversations about this very subje

NESTING...stop the madness

Lately I’ve been nesting. NO, I’m not pregnant but going through that nesting stage during pregnancy where I want to clean and scour every countertop and rearrange every closet and junk drawer down to military precision. I can’t explain this sudden urge to pitch and purge except to say I’ve been battling a weird autoimmune disease that has left me feeling helpless with only a quarter of my cylinders spinning. So when the multiple meds kick in, I get the urge to straighten and dust and rearrange and throw out missed-matched socks and my son’s deflated footballs hiding in every corner of my house like last year’s Easter eggs.  Which leads me to designing. Yup. Once the de-cluttering commences, the designing begins. Because now I can see my spaces with a fresh eye. For example, I’ve moved the dining room table (actually I bribed my kids to move it) into the breakfast room for better use and now I have this small but empty dining space with infinite possibilities. *rubbing han